Saturday, 5 January 2013

Reminiscing... and a celebratory lunch!

I guess you've all got the message that we've been in France for a whole year now!  Danny suggested that we went out for lunch yesterday to celebrate this auspicious occasion and naturally I agreed!  We went to a restaurant that we'd not been to before, called Café des Belles Fleurs, in a village called Fenioux about 32 kilometres south of where we live.  It was a nice meal, not outstanding but we enjoyed it.  You may not know that in France, restaurants have to display their menu outside the premises and also have to offer at least one "formule", which is a set meal, usually with a couple of choices for each course, for a set price, which more often than not includes a glass of wine.  This usually makes eating out, especially at lunchtimes, relatively inexpensive.  Yesterday, we chose paté, followed by salmon and rice, a selection of cheese and dessert of apple cake.  And a "pichet" or jug of red wine to wash it down!  We had coffee to follow and the whole lot came to 24 Euros!  You'd be hard pushed to make all that for less at home !  Incidentally, in France, the cheese course is eaten before dessert, something which takes a bit of getting used to!

Anyway, after we'd eaten we stood and chatted to the owner (who is Welsh) for a while.  This restaurant has a Curry and Quiz night every couple of weeks and also has music nights with different bands performing.  We fully intend to try these out, partly because they are the sort of things we enjoy but moreover, to try to get to know more people.  I'll keep you posted!

As the title of this post suggests, we've spent a fair amount of time over the last couple of days, reminiscing about coming over here.  It really is hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since we left everything we knew and held dear in England to start a new life here in rural France.  I know some of you will have seen some, if not all, of these before, but here is a photo record of our journey from Basildon, Essex to Verteuil-sur-Charente, the village where our rented cottage was situated......


The camper, outside the kennels where we were picking up Finn & Liam.  Then Liam, curled up behind Danny in the truck!  He settled down there without any problem as if he made a 13 hour journey every day!!

Mile after mile of open, and mostly empty, French roads.

One of the French motorway services where we refuelled the vehicles and ourselves!
All of the vehicles safely at Verteuil.... this is the 'morning after' before we started unpacking the belongings we'd brought to tide us over for those first 3 months.  Everything else we owned was in storage in Kent and we wouldn't see it until April.
And finally, we treated our wonderful 'helpers' Paul and Joe to a good meal at the local restaurant, the Café Portebleue, the night before they went back to the UK, in the Mondeo which Joe was to have as his own car.
I have to share with you that this is a very poignant picture for us.  I think I tend to focus on the highlights of our life in France in this blog but in our musings over the last couple of days, we recalled that after that night out with the boys, they left the next day around lunchtime and it was only then that the enormity of what we'd done really hit us.  Danny especially went through some very dark days, missing his sons terribly and both of us felt that we'd been cast adrift.  Of course it did pass, partly because we had to immerse ourselves in so many things, househunting in particular.  But I have to say, even now, all this time on, whenever our guests leave, we are always left with a sense of loneliness.  Fortunately, it passes quickly now!




  1. I just love reading your blog roz. Keep it coming!

  2. Hooray, you were successful in leaving a comment! Thank you re the blog... nothing much to report today, it's a murky damp foggy day here. Can't wait for spring!! x